Young Writers Awarded: 14 year old student of Queen’s College earns Top Prize

The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) recently announced the winner of the 2015 Irving Burgie Award of Literary Excellence, a competition which has been a beacon of achievement in the creative arts in Barbados for over 30 years. Returning to a literary competition in 2011, the Irving Burgie Award promotes the advancement of creative writing in the island paving the way for the development of other arts (e.g. theatre, singing, film) which use writing as a basis. Many of the competition’s past winners still work in the arts, a trend which if continued, will augur well for the future of literary arts in Barbados, based on the level of the writing exhibited in the competition.

Recipient of this year’s top prize, Ocean Cumberbatch-Campbell was elated upon receiving the news of his achievement. The 14 year old student of Queen’s College was entered into the competition privately and is the second private entrant to win the competition since it opened up to private (non school sponsored) entries in 2013. Also entered into the competition privately was this year’s runner up Alec Begg.

Entrants were required to submit a portfolio of literary works which were judged by award winning writer and broadcaster Andre Harewood; writing tutor, author and award winning poet Sandra Sealy; and editor, award winning author and poet Nailah Imoja.

In commenting on the judging process Cultural Officer for Literary Arts at the NCF, Mrs. Ayesha Gibson-Gill, noted that the judges were remarkably impressed with the imaginative display of the entrants over the years and indicated that an influence of television programming on the writers was clearly evident.

The judges met with the entrants at a specially organised workshop on Thursday August 6th, to deliver comments on the entrants’ work and to give the young writers advice on ways they could improve. Each entrant was awarded a copy of Irving Burgie‘s autobiography DAY-O!!!

Winner Ocean Cumberbatch-Campbell and runner up Alec Begg will both be awarded their official prizes later this year at the NIFCA Award ceremony. Ocean Cumberbatch-Campbell will receive $3,500 plus a trophy depicting the image of Mr. Irving Burgie and runner up Alec Begg will receive $1,500.

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